For Karishma, Apsana and Samira, going to school to complete their secondary education represented a seismic shift in worldview and a radical reappraisal of what their lives could become. Suddenly, a life trapped within four walls, fulfilling societal expectations came into question when the possibility of a life outside of the house became palpable. But as final exams approached, their families began preparations for their weddings. Immediately, they were forced to choose between their quickly evolving dreams and their obligations to their community.
Apsana broke her arranged engagement the day before her wedding to continue pursuing her education; Karishma made an unthinkable choice by running away and marrying a forbidden love; Samira accepted her fate and married as was expected of her, leaving her family behind. Their choices are not just their own but have consequences for their families within a tight knit community.
These stories combined show the complexity that emerges on the path to self-determination within a conservative, Muslim town - Dholka located in the western state of Gujarat, India. Filmed over 4 years, Brave Girls explores the urgent questions about the empowerment of women in the developing world from the perspective of the women living those questions and facing the consequences of answering them.
Ellie is an award-winning filmmaker and educator, committed to sharing personal stories that reveal and inspire. She is the recipient of the DC Mayor's Arts Award and is a frequent collaborator with the DC based production company, Meridian Hill Pictures.